WASHINGTON (CN) – Lawyers for former President Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone filed a response Monday to what they called a “clumsily” handled question concerning a book introduction that potentially violates a court-issued gag order.
“There was/is no intention to hide anything,” Stone’s lawyers wrote in the responsereleased Monday. “Having been scolded, we seek only to defend Mr. Stone and move ahead without further ado.”
Judge Amy Berman Jackson felt Stone violated her February gag order when he chose to re-publish a 2017 book on the Trump election with a new introduction, arguing that further public spectacle would make it difficult to find an unbiased jury for his upcoming criminal trial. Stone’s attorneys maintain that the new introduction for the book–in which Stone counts himself on “Crooked Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s hit list”–was written prior to the gag order date.
On March 5, Jackson ordered Stone’s counsel to supply detailed timelines of when Stone planned to make his re-published book available publically. In their responses, they made it clear Stone’s publicity and knowledge of the book’s release occurred before the Feb. 21 gag order was put in place.
“The Court views the New Introduction as ‘entirely inconsistent with the assurances,’ but those ‘assurances’ were not made in an effort to conceal anything,” Monday’s response argued. “They reflected a belief in both waning publicity and the ability of the Court to seat a jury. That opinion still holds.”
Jackson turned down counsel’s request for clarification about whether the book was included in the gag order, and said there was ample time for Stone’s team to inform her of its release. In Monday’s response, Stone’s attorneys insisted their request for clarification was not simply a publicity stunt.
His attorneys also argued that they didn’t feel the need to mention the revised introduction to Jackson, as it was already in the “hands of retailers” as far back as January.
“Even if it had crossed counsel’s mind to raise the new introduction (and it did not), it seems a bit awkward to have sought to introduce the New Introduction at that very moment during argument,” they wrote.
Stone originally sparked Jackson’s ire with an Instagram post from Feb. 18, which included what looked like crosshairs next to the judge’s face. The post was deleted, and although Stone’s lawyers issued an apology for the photo, Jackson handed Stone the gag order nonetheless.
Stone was arrested in January for witness tampering and lying to Congress. A status conference has been set for March 14, where Jackson will determine whether Stone’s infringement will mean a possible revocation of his bail before trial.